Iraqis are eager for Western help. University students in Erbil and Sulaimaniya grasp at contact with the outside world. Businesspeople and political leaders are hungry for engagement with the global economy. Average citizens are desperate for foreign investment because of the employment they know it can bring. If anything, they are frustrated that Western countries have appeared shy to get more involved, or to show moral support to a people under siege from thugs who place nail-bombs in public marketplaces.
To be brutally honest, some of those who call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq would quickly move on to other issues if they got their way. Once Iraq is out of their sights, it will be out of their minds and cease to exert a moral pull on them. The Kurds are not going anywhere. What they want above all is a well-grounded, long-term relationship with the United States and Western Europe. One Kurd I spoke to said that Kurds will reach out to whoever extends a hand to them, and smile back at whoever smiles at them. They know it is they who will face the violent chaos that would fill the vacuum created by a precipitate withdrawal. We should keep smiling back.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Gerard Alexander: Letter from Iraqi Kurdistan
From his letter in the Autumn 2007 issue of Democratyia,